Vintage cookbooks are a great deal of fun to look at -- you can learn so much about a time by learning about what people ate in the way back when. Of course, these recipes aren't always appealing -- aspic, anyone? -- but some of them are still as good as the day the ingredients were first recorded.
If you're of the same mindset, get your hands on a circa 1940s cookbook, newly re-released by HarperCollins. It's called Specialites de la Maison, and it includes recipes gathered from Hollywood celebs, Broadway stars, the grande dames of society and more, including Noel Coward, Christian Dior, Eleanor Roosevelt. The cookbook was a fundraiser for the now defunct group American Friends of France, which provided aid to the war-ravaged country.
If you're dying to try, say, Tallulah Bankhead's fried chicken, get yourself to the Algonquin Hotel, which is preparing a special prix fixe dinner from the cookbook, selecting dishes designed to appeal to the modern palate (while leaving out recipes that are more fun to read than eat, like Salvador Dali's Neptune Nonsense, a gelatin/seafood/molded concoction). The Algonquin is the perfect setting for the three-course, $29 dinner menu, given its historic status, most notably as the place where the the "vicious circle", which included Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley used to meet to trade barbs and bon mots.
The special menu ends on May 16th.